April 2023 | The Books

Photo by Taylor Wright on Unsplash

April has been a month of catching up on writing reviews for all those books I read in March. I only have two more to go.

Whereas this month has had far fewer books on the go as I focused on reading a few classics – Zola for Fanda’s Zoladdiction month, Elizabeth von Armin for my latest Classics Club Spin, The English Air for the 1940 Club and now Silas Marner for the next chapter-a-day Eliot Readalong with Nick.

Below is the list of books I finished reading during the month of April (review links will be added as I write them)!

The Bookbinder of JerichoPip WilliamsAustraliaHistorical Fiction2023ARC
The English AirD. E. StevensonEnglandFiction1940TBR
L’AssommoirÉmile ZolaFranceHistorical Fiction1877TBR
In Bed With AnimalsBronwyn LovellAustraliaPoetry2022TBR
The Solitary SummerElizabeth von ArminGermanyFiction1899ePub
Katherine Mansfield: A Secret LifeClaire TomalinEnglandBiography1987TBR

Story of the month: L’Assommoir stands out from the crowd, but my great enjoyment whilst reading The English Air for the 1940 Club has caused me to order in more D. E. Stevenson books at work.

What have you been reading during April?

This post was written on the traditional land of the Wangal clan, one of the 29 clans of the Eora Nation within the Sydney basin. This Reading Life acknowledges that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are our first storytellers.

15 thoughts on “April 2023 | The Books

  1. L’Assommoir has gone on to by TBR, so thank you for pointing it out. It will be interesting to see Etienne’s background.
    I hope you enjoyed The Solitary Summer; I’ve read that and Elizabeth and her German Garden (of the garden/books focused books) and enjoyed both.


    1. I enjoyed both garden books too – I’d love to see a beautiful illustrated edition of them both.
      L’Assommoir is quite a bleak read. Relentless, grinding poverty is not in anyway romanticised by Zola. It’s a very hard cycle to break as Etienne and Nana both show in their books.


    1. Yes, The Solitary Summer wasn’t as memorable as the first, but a delightful stroll through a garden none-the-less. And quick, which was handy as I was reading L’Assommoir at the same time.


  2. What a lovely stack you’ve read! I had hoped to read for the 1940’s club as well, but was consumed with the International Booker Prize long list instead. I would like to read more Stevenson myself. I have read Elizabeth von Armin, but only The Enchanted April. I like how you read such a variety of genres, from poetry to historical fiction, whereas I mostly dabble with books in translation, and have long ago given up my Classics Club list.


    1. Your IBP reading & reviewing was very impressive Meredith, convincing me to try a couple of the books I had dismissed as being too brutal for my tastes these days. Now I just have to fit them into my reading schedule!

      If not for the book shop where I work, I would mostly read classics I suspect (which is what I did before). My various book groups over the years have tempted me to try contemporary stories, but I still tend to lean towards those that are historical in nature. Poetry is something that I am trying to understand and appreciate more – it’s a work in progress 😀

      I’d love to read more books in translation.


  3. My list of ‘physical’ reads, as distinct from audiobooks, is going to have Alex Wright’s Praiseworthy in April, May, June and probably July. It’s not just heavy going and enormously long, but it must give way to other commitments (especially the AWWC). Thank goodness listening while driving feeds me a constant stream of easy to digest middle brow fiction (and SF!)


    1. I will save Praiseworthy for when I have time to do it justice then. I would also like to read Carpentaria and The Swan Book beforehand.

      I’ve read a lot of easy to digest middle brow stuff recently thanks to the lingering after effects of being unwell. It was a delight I have to say. I wish I could embrace audio books, I tried a few times on solo drives, but always drifted off and missed large chunks of the story. I tend to tune out audio distractions – maybe it’s one of the things about growing up in a large(ish) family – you learn to tune out noise from others to create your own space?


  4. I see some of my favourite authors here: Elizabeth von Arnim and Claire Tomalin. Tomalin is great on biographies. I read 17 books in April, I think a record, but very easygoing books. Four by DDM, novellas, and eight books by Donna Leon and her Commissario Brunetti.

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